38% of logistics operators still finding time on the tarmac a key challenge

Four solutions to limit the risk of damage from temperature peaks

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Ensuring that the right medicine reaches the right recipient under the right conditions is a difficult task.

In temperature-controlled pharmaceutical, Cargosense estimates that 20% of temperature sensitive products are damaged during transport due to a broken cold chain. Huge losses can occur in lost product cost, root cause analysis, clinical trial loss, replacement costs and wasted logistics costs. Investigating just one temperature excursion can take over 40 labor hours and cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are also the added safety risks of damaged or degraded pharmaceuticals making their way to patients. The stakes in temperature controlled logistics remain high, yet some of the key challenges have yet to be fully addressed.

20% of temperature sensitive products are damaged during transport due to a broken cold chain

The cold chain shipping of biological and gene based personalized medicines is a growing tends, which demands rigorous temperature control as well as speedy shipping. To meet such a demand, air freight is often to go to choice.

Our survey of over 140 experts within temperature controlled logistics echoed this with 56% reporting that air transit is their preferred method of temperature control transport.

21% see time on the tarmac as a huge challenge costing them significant money

However, 38% of respondents noted that products spoiling from being left on the tarmac for too long at airports is still a challenge for them. While 21% believes it is a huge challenge for them which is costing significant amounts of money.

How can this problem be solved?

Our community shared four key ideas on how to solve this challenge. The first two can be implemented within each company, the next three require wider co-operation with regulatory bodies and transport stakeholders to set and uphold necessary standards.


1. Co-ordination & collaboration with stakeholders

Collaboration and communication are essential to ensure success in the cold chain. During our survey, 33% of respondents admitted that they don’t hold meetings to share information with their supply chain stakeholders as often as they should. In fact, only 17% were meeting with them frequently.

To discover how to connect with your supply chain, watch our recent webinar

By keeping open lines of communications between stakeholders, issues can be easily addressed and managed. You can also ensure that specific demands are being met throughout the supply chain and that the relevant stakeholder is taking full responsibility for their role.

Only 17% are meeting and communicating with their supply chain stakeholders regularly

Both trade lane assessments and strong conditions on product handling were recommended as ways to ensure risks from time on the tarmac are limited


2. Protection systems

There has been a lot of interest recently in supply chain connectivity and visibility, with new solutions and ideas emerging. At its core, solutions aim to provide the correct data at the correct time, in an easy to understand format so you can address and resolve issues quickly.

Understanding the temperature on the tarmac, an updated view of the temperature in your container and who is your point of contact to solve the problem can be the difference between losing a shipment and securing your product.

While some may choose to implement new systems, it may just be that they need to start using their existing data from data loggers in a better way and understand how to get the most from that information.

Better passive or use of Active packaging can also make a key difference.

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3. Effective on the ground training & increased airline services

Training and certification are key solutions for the time on the tarmac challenge. Employees with a greater product awareness and understanding of the requirements of temperature sensitive products could greatly reduce the amount of incidents.

Improved and careful handling, along with following clear procedures could give added security to the process. CIE training and compliance allows for knowledge in advance of who is capable of managing these sensitive products and maintaining the needed standard.

Many would also like to see airline services increasing their facilities and storage locations. Or to improve their infrastructure in general. This all ties in to a greater dedication and commitment from airlines to the needs of temperature controlled logistics.


4. Greater commitment from regulatory bodies

Our community would like to see a greater commitment from regulatory bodies in two ways. Firstly, they would like the custom releasing procedure to be reduced and transport rules eased where possible.

They would also like to increase the lines of communication and overall co-operation between local authorities to control cold chain costs. There would also be support for a global standardized system.

In Conclusion

A single transport handling failure can have a significant impact. For time on the tarmac to no longer be a costly challenge for companies to handle, commitment needs to be given from all stakeholders. Requirements must be communicated, safeguards put in place and co-operation given from both regulatory bodies and airline services.

We are likely to see further development to address this challenge though. As David Kim, Supply Chain Logistics at Kite Pharma Inc puts it “given the rapid pace of innovation within the biotechnology, pharma and healthcare sectors, the potential for further development in the supporting transportation sector remains a worthwhile opportunity”.